The term pathmaraga is a Sinhalese term applied to a very special colour variety of corundum, so named after the lotus flower as its colour is sometimes akin to a variety of this flower. This really is another variety of corundum where the distinct nomenclature is based on colour. This variety too has stirred up controversy regarding the understanding of the actual colour it displays. The pathmaraga has an exceptional colour combination which is very attractive and rare. The term pathmaraga is now a universally accepted varietal name. The colour combination produces the rare and beautiful colour of a sunset red at its best as seen across a tropical sky. In Sri Lanka these gemstones are available in reasonably large sizes as well as of high quality. The colour of pathmaraga is apparently a combination of yellow, pink and red with mildly conspicuous flashes of orange. It is indeed a strange combination of colours where the cumulative effects of the ratios of colour mixtures could invariably produce different colour tones. Like the ruby the pathmaraga too could occur in different tones of colour from pale to deep but the basic colour ingredients should be present.
Quite many dealers tend to misidentify and refer to brownish yellow sapphires, pale golden sapphires, deep golden yellow sapphires and also off pink sapphires as pathmaraga. This is by no means doing justice to this unique and beautiful gemstone. Pathmaraga corundum of a very good colour, good transparency and lustre, of reasonably good commercial and investment sizes, are available in Sri Lanka for the admirer of something special. Nevertheless it must not be forgotten that these are rarities of nature.
Pathmaraga could also be produced through a process of heat treatment technique of natural corundum conducive to such treatment and having the necessary special attributes. Here, evidently the colour producing elements (ingredients) are within the stone and the heating process activates these elements which in turn bring out and impart colour to the gemstone. The resultant colours are believed to be permanent. In relation to this a word of caution has to be added. These colours could also be achieved through a process of irradiation in which, colour permanency cannot be guaranteed. This could invariably dupe an unsuspecting and uninformed customer. Thus it may be that dealing in pathmaraga is more for the professional than for the novice.